Police lathi-charged protesting students at Panjab University (PU) campus on Tuesday afternoon, after a spat between the students and the cops turned ugly.
The students, members of an organisation Students for Society (SFS), have alleged that the move was without provocation and batons and rifle butts were used. The passersby were also not spared, they have alleged.
These students had been protesting against the fee hike in certain courses outside vice-chancellor Arun Kumar Grover's office for 23 days and the police had been called in to forcibly take a student Raminder Singh, on fast for six days, to the hospital. This was resisted and heated arguments were exchanged and the cops decided to thrash the students, without the mandatory permission from the sub-divisional magistrate for such an action.
Cops later alleged that a constable Kushiram was hit by a stone, provoking the use of force.
Eye-witnesses said that inspector Lakhbir Singh charged at the students with his baton. Woman constables also thrashed protesting girl students.
Nine students were detained and they were reportedly sent for the mandatory medical examination more than five hours after the incident, members of the SFS have alleged.
Students criticised the interference of police in matters related to the varsity and said that such kind of inhuman behaviour was unacceptable.
Later at the Sector-11 police station, supporters and legal advisers were not allowed to meet the detained students and were kept waiting for hours. There were also allegations that those detained were also beaten up at the police station.
Section-144 imposed on campus
The UT administration has imposed Section 144 on Panjab University campus from March 19-24. The order shall come into force with effect from zero hour on March 19. UT deputy commissioner Mohammed Shayin passed the orders. The order shall not apply to the police or para-military or military persons or any other government servant on official duties, the processions or meetings for which prior permission in writing of the DM/SDM, Chandigarh, is obtained and the customary and ritualistic procession in connection with weddings and funerals.
The Peoples Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh State Unit has condemned the the unjustified and excessive use of force against the varsity students. PUCL representative advocate Arjun Sheoran met the nine students who were arrested by the Chandigarh Police, Police Station, Sector 11,
Chandigarh. He alleged that the detained students were also thrashed at the police station.
It was also observed that a student, Gurpreet Singh's turban was removed in custody and his hair was pulled.
PUCL members alleged that the DSP concerned Rakesh Kalia did not ensure medical examination as mandated by law for hours and also refused to produce the arrested students before a judicial magistrate. He is supposed to have categorically told the PUCL representative that he had 24 hours more before he is supposed to produce the arrested accused.